The main entrance of the Ackland Art Museum is located on S. Columbia Street, across from Fraternity Court. (Photo by Ackland Art Museum)
The Ackland Art Museum is home to nearly 20,000 individual pieces of art, with premier North Carolina collections of both Asian art, arts on paper (sketches, photography, etc.) and North Carolina pottery. The museum also controls significant European masterworks, and large exhibitions of contemporary and modern pieces. Additionally, the Ackland hosts more than a dozen organized special exhibitions a year.


The Ackland Art Museum at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was founded through the legacy of William Hayes Ackland (1855-1940). It was a vision of William Ackland to create a museum within the southern part of the states, since he was from Nashville, Tennessee, where he graduated from both Nashville University and Vanderbilt University. Ackland's objective was to enhance culture at a renowned university. 

The building of the museum was not an easy feat—Duke University did not go through with the building plans he had entrusted to the university upon his death in 1940. After nine years of litigation, UNC Chapel Hill received the endowment and by 1958 the museum was finished. The museum was originally comprised of western art and eventually evolved to include several drawings, photographs and Asian artwork. After a renovation in the late 80s, the museum reopened in the early 90s, with an expanded collection of art. William Ackland’s tomb is located inside the museum. Ackland was strongly passionate about the arts and "he wanted the people of his native South to know and love the fine arts.”Ackland Art Museum was built on, and continues to thrive through, the Ackland Trust. 

Sketch of the Ackland Art Museum by H.R. Weeks, of Eggers & Higgins Architecture, New York, 1954. (Photo by Ackland Art Museum)


The mission of the Ackland Art Museum is to provide human insight of the self and world, and to promote an understanding of the arts in the American South. The museum also strives to to collect and preserve works of art vital to the local, regional and national communities in order to educate and inspire students from the university and elsewhere.

Current exhibitions:


  • The Ackland Art Museum is located at 101 S. Columbia St.
  • For parking information, click here


  • Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Second Fridays of each month from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Closed on Mondays and Tuesdays
  • Closed on Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.
  • Admission to the Ackland Art Museum is always free.